Costa Brava campsite Cala Canyelles is the perfect place to let off steam

I THOUGHT the rain in Spain fell mainly on the plain. But a torrential downpour — over a waterpark, of all places, five minutes’ from the Costa Brava coast — wasn’t about to dampen our fun. Instead we headed for the nearest waterslide . . . Kamikaces!

My hands behind my head, feet crossed, I shot down the chute, skimmed over the surface like a bouncing bomb from the Dam Busters . . . and sank. This was just one of the wild slides at Water World, Lloret de Mar.

Kids are guaranteed to have the best time of their lives at Water World, Lloret de Mar
©Paul-N. Dubuisson

When the sun reigns, as it did for most of our week-long stay, you can expect two-hour queues. Luckily, the clouds and thunder kept the crowds and queues down.

If the park was a little dated, it was still huge fun — and great value for a family of six. Theme parks can be expensive but in Spain larger families often get a discount. (Take passports to prove you are related!)

It cost just £72.52 (85 euros) for all of us, which meant more to spend on ice cream and churros. At nearby Formula Karting, a similar outlay bought just ten minutes of track time for the four kids. Ouch.

Excitement was sky-high even before our first-ever family flight. Any unease for George, 14, Daisy, 12, Jemima, 11, and Albert, nine, was calmed by our easyJet crew. A stiff Bloody Mary did the trick for Mum and Dad.

Cala Canyelles has so much to offer for families looking to relax and enjoy themselves

Instead of the usual day’s drive to our campsite, we were unpacking within a few hours, plonked into the Barcelona heat with our Enterprise hire car ready to go. Cala Canyelles, just north of

Lloret del Mar, was the perfect spot to relax . . . after we negotiated the switchback road through the site with more twists and turns than a conga line.

The site snakes up a hillside over the bay, offering mobile homes, glamping, apartments and pitches. The view from the top is spectacular — but don’t forget anything when you trek to the shop or the pool!

Our three-bed Da Vinci mobile home would have wowed Leonardo himself, with air-con, wifi, power-shower, kitchen area, decking and a barbecue. The campsite is undergoing a makeover after a takeover by Senia. The updated pool is small but never felt overcrowded and there is a pool just for youngsters too.

The staff laid on regular activities including pool aerobics, volleyball and workouts for the more energetic campers, plus table tennis, basketball court and pool tables. The beach is just a few minutes away by foot or the regular guagua — Canaries Spanish for bus.

Mum, dad and kids Albert, Jemima, Daisy and George had a great time on holiday together

At the beach you can hire pedalos, paddleboards and sunbeds, or you can just splash around and snorkel in the surf. But the sharply inclined beach and buffeting waves made for a watchful rather than relaxing time.

You can get the ferry from here to explore various destinations up and down the rocky coastline, with tickets available from a kiosk. La Caseta serves bar grub and some mean cocktails, while just off the beach, Sybius offers a more traditional seafood menu.

If culture and couture get your juices flowing, Tossa de Mar will be much more to your liking. Take the ferry, or your car, to this wonderful walled city. It dates back to the 12th century and its narrow, bustling streets are a paradise for fashionistas, as well as those after a more traditional holiday memento, and for history buffs too.

The kids tried a fish foot spa, where critters nibble off dead skin. (Dad was banned from dipping his dodgy tootsies in the tank.) Down by the wide, sandy beach with views of the castle, you can take your pick of places to grab a bite.

Hipsters and party animals will probably prefer the nightlife at the livelier resort of Lloret de Mar, where big-name DJs such as Alan Walker (nope, me either) spend the summer. The big-city attractions of Barcelona are just an hour away too. But we always ended our night at the poolside bar, where the kids practised their Spanish, while Mum and Dad relaxed.

On our first night we were serenaded by Cala Canyelles’ own Fab Four, Los Paraguayos. The Spanish guitar troupe soon got our feet tapping. As the sangria and house-special Oreo milkshakes flowed, we all agreed that Cala Canyelles reigned supreme.


GETTING THERE: Flights from various UK airports to Barcelona are from £23.16pp one-way. See
STAYING THERE: Seven nights’ self-catering at Cala Canyelles is from £140 for a six-person, three-bedroom Da Vinci Lounge mobile home, arriving May 4. For an extra ten per cent off use promo code 19AF10P. See or call 0161 332 8900.


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